paper trail

Elena Ferrante on TV

Heather Havrilesky

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels are to be adapted for television, and the author will apparently be “working closely” with the producers on the project, which will shoot in Italy.

To our relief, Politwoops relaunched in the US just in time for last night’s New Hampshire primary, so we will no longer be missing out on any of the candidates’ deleted tweets (that phrase seems to cry out for a Nixon joke, but we don’t have it in us this morning).

Meanwhile, this account from Gawker of how Hillary Clinton’s staff arranges her press coverage is quite amazing.

While Bookforum remains proudly anti-Valentine, we admit to being somewhat seduced by the line-up for The Cut’s “True Romance” series this week, which so far includes Heather Havrilesky and Eileen Myles.

Two Palestinian writers and a Syrian novelist have made the shortlist for the $60,000 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, which will be awarded in late April in Abu Dhabi.

Tony Tulathimutte, whose novel Private Citizens is reviewed in the latest issue of Bookforum, has a funny and at times brilliantly deranged essay at the Believer about the possibilities of computer-generated writing. Along the way, he considers the Hemingway app, which promises to render your writing “bold and clear” by auto-recommending brutal edits: “Tallying up all the infelicities,” Tulathimutte notes, “it assigns the passage a numerical grade, representing ‘the lowest education level needed to understand your text,’ which oddly equates boldness and clarity with legibility to young children (presumably, the best score would be ‘Illiterate’).” Other highlights of the Believer piece include the idea that a bot “might produce garbage 99.99999% of the time—but in the months or years it takes a person to compose one novel, a computer might generate hundreds of millions, only one of which needs to be any good in order to match a human writer’s achievements (and all without going into debt).” And the notion that, should we perfect software that can automatically replace any trite phrases in our writing, the result could start to seem “tacky and cloying, the prose equivalent of Photoshop or Auto-Tune—the deliberate use of cliché may become an act of subversive camp, or a reassuring watermark of human authorship.”

The Tournament of Books draws ever nearer and, among other things, we are curious about what will happen when (on March 15th) Choire Sicha is let loose on A Little Life.